A while back, I posted a list of who I considered today's young music icons and their predecessors. I likened Rihanna to Vanity and Madonna, and with good reason. With this newly released video, Rihanna pushes the envelope and treads ground that is rarely seen with mainstream pop stars. The homo-eroticism of the lyrics is taken to a new level with this beautifully shot racy clip. This makes Katy Perry's nod to lesbianism look like preschool. Miss Fenty has really taken us for a ride with this album. I dig it.
Christina Aguilera's album Bionic is set to drop soon and she boasts that it shows her using her voice differently, dabbling in futuristic sounds, and showing a different side of herself. She unleashed Not Myself Tonight as a first single but the track has been met with a lukewarm reception.
A standout track on the album is I Am. The song showcases Christina singing well. No shouting, yet no holding back. The song's title reminds me of a certain Fierce woman's Grammy winning album. That's exactly what this album is to me. Though it isn't packaged as a double album, there is a clear line between the softer songs and the songs that are deliberately brash and superficial. Tracks 9-15 may as well be a separate album. And as was the case with Beyoncé's Sasha Fierce LP, these more smooth songs are my favorite. They show Christina's true growth and her most pure and honest vocal deliveries. As is the typical problem with a Christina album, there is a bit too much of everything. She is never one to choose a theme/concept and stick to it.
You Lost Me [Live on American Idol]
Of course, there are some standout dance tracks as well. Vanity and Glam are delicious pop cuts. Elastic Love grabs the 80s by the horns and the tongue-in-cheek Woohoo with Nicki Minaj has quickly become a fan favorite. However, all of these tracks leave Christina sounding like someone else. The problem is that any girl could sing those songs. Traces of M.I.A., Santigold, Gaga, Madonna, and Britney are all heard in the more uptempo tracks. Also, for some reason, she has always struggled with fans appreciating her sexual side. She kissed Madonna on the same stage as Britney and there was little to no buzz about it.
I don't understand why she doesn't just stick to her guns and record music like You Lost Me, Sex for Breakfast, and Lift Me Up. So what if she isn't the shocking pop princess. Who needs her to be? She should be going for longevity rather than riding trends. She doesn't need Janet/Madonna reinventions to keep us entertained. She has the voice. After all, although we loved Genie in a Bottle, it was really I Turn to You, Reflections, and Beautiful that made people take notice. In the meantime, we still have a decent album with a variety of sounds and stunning vocals, even if it is a bit schizophrenic.
Trey Songz Yo Side of the Bed [Video Premiere] Director: Yolande Geralds
Reminiscent of Aaron Hall's "I Miss You", Trey Songz ditches the sex for his new video for his sixth single Yo Side of the Bed. The song is from his album Ready and the clip features fellow recording star Keri Hilson. The video's concept and delivery are on point. I was just thinking about how men don't sing about heartbreak anymore, instead opting for sex anthems and club bangers. This Prince laced track is actually the most grown up from Trey's album, even more so than the deliberately brazen sex tracks. I chose it as one of my Top Ten Songs of the Year in a previous post. It's nice to see a real love song from a guy. I love it. Acting as a tribute to those in the armed forces and their families, the clip is definitely a step up for him.
I thought this was too funny not to share it. Sex and the City 2's official soundtrack boasts some big names from Alicia Keys to Leona Lewis and Jennifer Hudson. The track that stood out in the album's listing was Liza Minnelli's cover of Beyoncé's iconic hit, Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It). It's like KidsBop for senior citizens. Um...yeah...An interesting affair.
Models Paolo Rolden, Emil Dostovic, Jonathan Marquez, Eduardo Calero, Manuel Ramos and Willy Cartier for Arena Homme Spring/Summer 2010 Editorial: Riccardo Tisci - The Making of Givenchy Man Styling: Panos Yiapanis Photographer: Willy Vanderperre [source]
In the latest issue of Arena Homme, the magazine publishes a revealing interview with Givenchy head designer Riccardo Tisci, alongside The Men of Givenchy. We just saw Tisci's vision in the shape of Givenchy stars alongside Ciara.
"I love clothes myself but after Helmut Lang and Hedi Slimane quit I could not really find clothes I wanted to wear. I was buying Tenderloin, Stussy, Bathing Ape, all those street labels. Everything seemed too fashion or too super elegant all the time." - Ricardo Tisci for Arena Homme
While I have lauded Rihanna for sticking to the dark theme and making this project one of the most visually cohesive efforts I have ever seen, I think this video is a bit along the lines of beating a dead horse. Dark for the sake of being dark is the new norm. I think her impersonation of Slash was adorable, but otherwise I can do without the occult symbolism. That horned look was a bit much for me. Kinda makes it hard to dispel those rumors... The video also features a cameo appearance from Blink 182 member, Travis Barker.
Chrisette Michele made waves when she shaved her head in rejection of the routines that black women endure to obtain "good" hair. The songstress recently explained to VIBE: “The turning point for me to shave my head was when I was out on tour. I had some pieces glued into my head because I didn’t want to dye my own hair, and the glued on piece would not come out of my head so I said I’m shaving my head because this is ridiculous. This does not make me Black. This does not make me a great singer; this makes me have a piece of hair stuck to my head and I was like, "I’m done, I can’t do this anymore."
My stylist once put a lace-front on me for a show that I did. I wanted to try it out. They take adhesive and put it around the edges of your hair and then they lay stocking material on top of that adhesive and then the rest of the stocking has hair attached to it and then this stocking material blends into your face and then they take makeup and put it on top of that stocking material and blend that into your face. I’m not sure if that’s healthy. I think you might get pimples and I don’t like pimples. I knew girls who shaved around their hairlines so that their lace fronts would lay better. I don’t know about that.”
"God has made your dreams a couple of sizes to big, so you'll have a chance to grow into them." -Joseph "Rev Run" Simmons, American rap legend turned Minister
Do you ever feel like there is a plan for you but you can't seem to find your way? Often our own destinies can seem overwhelming. One can have great ideas and great talent without a clear path to fulfilling them. Remember to be diligent and patient. We aren't meant to achieve things overnight. Part of the joy of the finish line is the journey that gets us there. Grow into your dreams. Relish in the process and the outcome will be more rewarding.
Beyoncé Halo [Alternate Version] Director: Philip Andelman
A new version of Beyoncé's Halo video has found its way to the net. This version has added scenes that also feature Michael Ealy, as the first video did. This one is much more cinematic and leaps and bounds better than the first.
"Sometimes a star never sees its own reflection because the planets are too small to reflect its light..." -Terrence Howard, American actor
Are you living up to what is planned for you? Are you shining? Sometimes, we have no clue of our own potential or the great things in store for us. Surround yourself with people that will "reflect" your light. Everyone needs a support system. Realize that you are the great human being that you were created to be and deal only with others who recognize that.
Here's Gym Class Heroes front man Travis "Travie" McCoy for the new issue of Honey Magazine, discussing his new solo life, his breakup, and beefs.
Snippets from the interview are below:
On His New Album: “A lot of the songs were really sad and somber, but that was a year ago. I had just got out of a hightly-publicized relationship. When I wrote ‘Billionaire’ with Bruno I was like, Okay, this is the lane I want to be in. I am a whole completely different person now - a lot happier. ‘Billionaire’ captures where I am now. Before the album comes out I have a mix tape dropping called Forgetting Katy Perry. That doesn’t mean I’m airing out my dirty laundy. It’s just stuff that didn’t fit on this album. Bruno produced another song called ‘Dr. Feel Good’ and we got Cee-lo to sing on it, which might be the second single. Lazarius is just an overall really great summertime record.”
On Katy Perry: “There is no bad blood or hard feelings [with Katy Perry]. It happens and you move on. You live and you learn - it makes you a better person. It’s the moving on that builds character. People that dwell on old relationships tend to stay bitter. I’m not that type of person.” [Read more at Honey's website]